Federal policy

Budget 2017 focuses on innovation and skills

 

Federal Budget 2017 sets out a goal to boost Canada’s prosperity and to ensure this prosperity is shared across society. To achieve this, the government is relying primarily on innovation and lifelong skills development. 

This budget may not have had the kind of major funding announcements for science and research as Budget 2016 (which included significant new increases of $95 billion that year to the research granting councils' base budgets and $2 billion over three years for university and college infrastructure), but it offers some important commitments. Furthermore, much of the story remains to be written, as we look for more details and watch for significant reports and reviews to come. You can read the Federation’s media release here and find a more detailed review of Budget highlights of relevance to our sector in the Federation’s...

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Tools that help us talk about impacts in the humanities

Tim Kenyon, Professor of Philosophy and Associate Dean of Arts, Research, University of Waterloo; member of the Federation’s Impacts Project Advisory Group

On February 8-9, I was very happy to meet with colleagues at the University of Manitoba, during a visit organized by the Institute for Humanities. In presentations and discussion sessions, we covered topics relating to the measurement and appraisal of humanities research. A summary of some of the themes raised in those discussions follows.

When asked to provide evidence or descriptions of research impact, humanities researchers typically face two related difficulties. The first is the prevalence and influence of research metrics that do not capture humanities research accurately; the second is the difficulty of proposing characterizations of research impact that do capture humanities research accurately.

We discussed ways in which both difficulties can be addressed through an open,...

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Parochialism and protectionism are the enemies of enlightenment: President Deane

 

This article was published in McMaster Daily News on February 28, 2017.

By Dr. Patrick Deane, President and Vice-Chancellor, McMaster University

On January 27, 2017, the White House issued its now notorious Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. As I write this, the order has been blocked by the courts and theoretically citizens of the seven Muslim-majority countries targeted by the ban are able to enter the United States as before. A new Executive Order is said to be imminent, however, so it is reasonable to assume that in one form or another discrimination on the basis of faith or ethnicity will continue to be an element in US immigration policy under the present administration.

That the issuing of the Executive...

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Research community speaks out on U.S. travel ban

Gauri Sreenivasan, Director of Policy and Programs, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

As news of U.S. President Donald Trump’s early executive orders spread across news channels at the end of January, many Canadians and citizens around the world were alarmed by the swiftness of the move to close borders and target Muslim majority countries. Civil liberties lawyers and groups analyzed and challenged the text; many worried at home; thousands participated in...

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Budget 2016 signals important research and innovation discussions coming in 2016

 

Here at the Federation, we’ve been picking apart the 2016 federal budget and also keeping an eye out for what our colleagues are saying. There seems to be a solid consensus growing: March 22 was a good day for Canadian scholarship in its many forms.

The Federation’s overall impressions are articulated in our post-budget media release, and a detailed analysis of the budget is available in our 2016 budget briefing note. The following is a brief overview of a few key topics, including issues that we feel are likely to be highly relevant in the coming year.

The 2015 Liberal election platform had no specific promises relating to research funding, so it was a welcome surprise to see a funding increase of $95 million split between the...

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Why we need to remove the uncertainty around assisted dying

 

This op-ed was published in The HIll Times on February 29, 2016

Jocelyn Downie is a professor in the faculties of law and medicine at Dalhousie University. She has advised several official committees on assisted dying, such as the Canadian Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Prof. Downie presented a lecture on assisted dying on Parliament Hill on Feb. 23 as a part of the Big Thinking lecture series hosted by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The Supreme Court of Canada has made it clear that patients who meet the Carter criteria should have access to physician-...

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Pre-budget 2016 submission: The Federation calls for investments in research, in student mobility, and to support reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples

In this year’s budget season, the Federation is urging the federal government to make significant investments to support scholarly research, student mobility and reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians through the postsecondary system.

Each year, the Federation submits a set of recommendations to the federal government through the annual budget consultation process. Our recommendations are designed to reflect the priorities of Canada’s social scientists and humanities scholars, and also to support public policies that benefit all Canadians.

Our recommendations for 2016 are based on the understanding that Canadians face growing challenges in the 21st century, such as adapting to technological change, creating jobs in an increasingly knowledge-driven economy, reducing carbon emissions and building social inclusion. As a response to these challenges, we are making the following recommendations:

Invest in research:...

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Fresh Air and New Hope for Canada and Human Rights

 

John Packer, Director, Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa

This blog was prepared for the celebration of Human Rights Day 2015. 

There is a palpable sense of relief within the human rights community following the federal election results of October 19th.  Notwithstanding some commitments and investments in selected matters like religious freedom and LGBTQ rights, the past decade has been one of substantial damage to human rights in Canada, and our generally positive reputation abroad (if not always fully merited) took a broad and deep hit.   

With the new majority Government in Ottawa, Canada claims to be “back” – not least in terms of...

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Why are we still debating diversity versus merit in 2015?

 

Susan Franceschet, University of Calgary; Karen Beckwith, Case Western Reserve University; Claire Annesley, University of Sussex

Canada’s first gender-equal cabinet is being celebrated by equality and diversity advocates but criticized by those who believe that using selection criteria like gender, race, or ethnicity violates merit. Those who trumpet merit believe that selection to high-level positions like cabinet or corporate boards must be based on demonstrable skills, achievements, and credentials with no consideration of the other characteristics of the individuals holding those credentials. In fact, critics of quotas as a mechanism to ensure diversity go a step further, arguing that quotas will lead to the...

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Stephen Toope: How sound science policy can make Ottawa better

 

This op-ed was published in The Hill Times on November 2, 2015

Stephen Toope, President, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences; Director, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

The new government will soon take office, carrying with it the hopes of a broad range of Canadians. And for those of us who value scientific research—either because we use it in our professional lives or simply because we value its role in a modern knowledge society—there are many reasons to be optimistic.

The role of science in democracy, good policy and...

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